#014: Dapchi Deja Vu
Dapchi Deja Vu
Last week, Boko Haram abducted schoolgirls from their boarding school at the Government Girls Science and Technical School in Dapchi (Yobe State, Northeastern Nigeria). In this painful deja vu, reminiscent of the 2014 attack in Chibok which spurred the international #BringBackOurGirls movement, it is clear that the Nigerian government is yet to defeat Boko Haram. Further, the extremist organization is unrelenting in its vendetta against young girls in school. While there is enough blame to go aroundregarding these abductions, the loudest voice is the reminder that schoolgirls in Northern Nigeria are more at risk than ever.
Read for: "NPR quoted witnesses as saying that 12 trucks carrying insurgents and mounted machine guns drove onto the school campus."
Dora Milaje and the Dahomey Amazons
February introduced the world to the fictional African utopia of Wakanda, a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel blockbuster, Black Panther, opened to critical acclaim, surpassed all ticket sales estimates and is currently Marvel's best-rated film on Rotten Tomatoes.
Black Panther is beyond remarkable in its exploration of the strength of its female characters; and without doubt, Wakanda's survival hinged almost squarely on its women. The Dora Milaje, the King's all-female body guards and the protectors of the Wakandan kingdom, were inspired by the 17th century Dahomey Amazons (the all-female military of the Kingdom of Dahomey, now Republic of Benin). In this piece for TIME, historian Arica Coleman, draws out the similarities between these powerful women (fictional and real) and proves that before colonialism, strong African women were central to several African kingdoms.
Read for: “But the strong women in Black Panther are more than just a potential inspiration to women in the audience today. They're also a window into a true, if oft-forgotten, piece of history."
On Screen: Born A Crime
Our golden girl, Lupita Nyong'o, will be producing and starring in the movie adaptation of comedian Trevor Noah's memoir "Born A Crime." Lupita will feature as Trevor's mother - who suffered abuse at the hands of his step-father, and who bore Trevor when interracial relationships in South Africa were outlawed (under the Immorality Act of 1927).
Trevor has lauded his mother, Patricia, as a "powerful woman" and reports stated that Lupita especially requested the role.
Read for: "'My mom always treated me like the adult she wanted me to become...she taught me to be independent. She taught me to be caring. She taught me to have empathy."
Nigeria's Bobsled Team Finishes 20th
Nigeria's female bobsled team, the first bobsled team from an African country ever, finished 20th in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Although they did not medal, it is remarkable to note that they came so far at their first attempt at the sport on the Olympic level; and with the hope of an entire continent on their shoulders. With several bumps in the road (having to put in their substitute as one of the main team members fell ill the night before the competition and not meeting personal bests), the indomitable women aim to bring home Africa's first Winter medal in Beijing 2022.
We will be here to cheer them on!
Read for: "This was just one of those days that you can't really describe," [Adigun] added. "Full of all kinds of emotions - full of relief, full of history."
Somaliland Breaks Away from Infibulation
In our January 17 issue, Empower46 reported on the landmark bill out of Somaliland which aimed to make rape a crime, punishable by up to 30 years in jail.
This month, Somaliland's Ministry of Religious Affairs issued a fatwa (essentially, a religious declaration) against infibulation, the most severe form of female genital mutilation (FGM). The fatwa criminalizes perpetration of the act, and promises that victims are eligible for compensation. Although infibulation is now criminalized, other forms of FGM are technically not illegal; activists plan to continue the fight for total eradication of FGM in Somaliland.
Read for: “The United Nations reports that Somalia has the world's highest rate of FGM with an estimated 98 percent of Somali females ages 15 to 49 have undergone the procedure. Practitioners of FGM often see it as a cultural or religious obligation meant to prevent women from sexual promiscuity, ensuring they remain chaste until marriage."